Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm an antique, who'da thunk it !!!!

Remember this "bonnie baby" photograph from a previous posting?

Well here's the dress :)

It's still in really good condition after all these years. It's companion came to a soggy, chew a hole through it, end. Mother caught me in the act before it got completely eaten.

I was a wee bit of a holy terror in that runaround contraption. The photograph was taken on a visit to my great aunt and uncle's home (the Robertsons). There was a bit of a slope in the garden and I decided to try it out :) Got caught, darn it !!!! Aaaaah the rush of the wind through my hair :)

In the US anything over the age of 50 is considered an antique. Not sure if that also applies to people but I'm willing to run with it ..... mmmmm, maybe walking briskly might be better.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes you just have to have a "serious" sense of humor.

A few postings back I mentioned I was looking at info about my great uncle William Lindsay. I needed to confirm some information with my cousin. Well she did and I was right but I totally did not expect what she told me.

William did marry twice. Wife #2 was his son-in-law's mother : ) So daughter and spouse became step-brother and sister. Good thing I was not drinking anything at the time !!!!!!

Her letter answered a number of questions and also raised a few more so this writing back and forth may take a while. Methinks it might be easier to hop on a plane and visit for a week or two. (DH wants to drive.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

A good but often under-utilized site over here belongs to Castle Garden. was launched in 2005 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Castle Garden as an immigration center.
What's a garden got to do with Scottish genealogy? Quite a lot actually.
Most people know about Ellis Island but what they don't know 90 odd% of the time is that Castle Garden was the precursor to it's more famous cousin.

(photograph - Castle Garden)

CG started life as a fort built to defend New York harbor from the British during the war of 1812. It was open to the public from 1824-1854(?) and saw use as a beer garden, restaurant, exhibit hall, theater and opera house. It became the immigrant processing/receiving center for the Port of New York from 1855-1890. (The local populace were not very happy about that turn of events.) From 1890-1892 immigrants were processed through the Old Barge Office.

(photograph- Old Barge Office)

Once Ellis Island opened up,  Castle Garden became New York City's Aquarium 1896-1946. Like many areas of historic note it was scheduled for demolition but the public ranted and, while the building was saved, it lay empty for many years.

(photograph - postcard of the old New York Aquarium)

Now known as Castle Clinton National Monument it serves as the visitor center for New York's National Parks and Monuments at Battery Park.

The Daily Times published an interesting article about Castle Garden on August 4th 1855.

Ruth Coleman wrote an informative piece about the history of Castle Garden and other immigrant information

Ellis Island c.1935

You can also find an interesting potted history at

Castle Garden is a free look-up site and I have been able to find a number of records (indexes) of family members who came from the motherland to the new one which then led me to other resources. The records are not complete due to a fire destroying some as they were being transferred to Ellis Island but it is still a valuable source and worth looking at.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scottish Death Record

I was going to share a photograph of my girls standing beside their g-g-grandfathers grave site in Scotland, but I cannot find the disc with the photograph so here's something that's still related to him.

John Hall was the schoolmaster in Drymen, Stirlingshire and also the registrar for BMD's. I have a goodly # of certificates showing his work. He was always praised for his penmanship and for any researcher his clarity and neatness (on the whole) is a jewel.
What is so different about this particular page?
Entry #1 is the death record for his wife Petrina Hall. That had to have been hard to write.
Entry #3 is the death record for Margaret McEwan. She was my grandma Hall's aunt.
I definitely "lucked out" with this image when it showed 2 relatives from different sides of the family, on the same page written up by another relative.
There is some irony in the whole "relative being town registrar" scenario. When John Hall died the registrar was...... his daughter. His death was registered by my grandfather.

here's the transcripts of all 3 entries.
Page 1. 1930. Deaths in the District of Drymen in the County of Stirling.

No. 1(I'm going to leave out the headings for the columns)
Petrina Hall. Married to John Hall. Schoolmaster (retired)
1930. March Twelfth 7h. 15m. p.m. Ormonde, Drymen.
66 yrs.
Neil MacKellar. Bath Attendant (deceased)
Helen MacKellar m.s. Hutson (deceased)
Cerebral Haemorrage (3 years) as certified by John MacKinnon MB (?) Drymen
John Hall. Widower (present)
1930. March 14th at Drymen.
John Hall. Registrar.

No. 2
Mary McGregor. Married to Donald McGregor. Blacksmith.
1930. March Sixteenth 3h. 35m. p.m. Drumbeg Smithy.
79 yrs.
James McAllister. Blacksmith (deceased)
Martha McAllister m.s. Maitland (deceased)
Cerebral Haemorrhage (10 years), Heart Failure (10 days).
as certified by Maud E.D. MacKinnon MB, Ch.B, Drymen
Donald McGregor. Widower. Present
1930. March 17th at Drymen
John Hall. Registrar.

No. 3
Margaret McEwan. Single
1930. May Thirty-first. 11h. 50m. am. Drymen
71 yrs.
Duncan McEwan. Weaver (deceased)
Margaret McEwan ms Clydesdale (deceased)
Mental depression with gradual heart failure 1 year
as certified by Maud E.D. MacKinnon MB Ch.B, Drymen
Duncan McEwan. Nephew. Ivy House, Drymen
1930. June 2nd. at Drymen
John Hall. Registrar

Drymen Parish Church and ariel views showing the cemetery. My relatives are now buried on the left hand side of the church on higher ground. Some of them had to be moved because of an overabundance of water in the hollow :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010's Top 100 Genealogy Sites recently published their 2010 recommendations. Lots of great blogs, some I am familiar with, others not. Definitely worth taking the time to look at, and learn from.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rescuing Flood Damaged Family Collections

It's been a sobering sight over the past few days seeing the physical lives of many, many people sitting on the sidewalks waiting to be picked up and hauled away. Obviously a concern for some is going to be - how to rescue personal, family items damaged by water.
The Tennessee Department of State has a good section covering basic information with links to other resources.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fun project - Matrilineal line

Here's a fun project for all you ladies out there - follow your matrilineal line - female line on mother's side - as far back as you can. This is how you get your mitochondrial DNA. I have not been tested so I have no idea what my Haplogroup is.

Here's my matrilineal line so far.
me (still living, obviously)

mother (still living)

grandmother - Jeanie McEwan 1897-1981

great grandmother - Janet McGechie 1853-1933 (sitting, holding granddaughter Betty)

2nd g-grandmother - Isabella Scott 1829-1891
3rd g-grandmother - Janet Gardner 1779-?
4th g-grandmother - Christian McIlquham - (dates unknown)

People you do not want to know how many times I  tried spelling matrilineal correctly and the variations I got therein :)
Mmmmm I wonder if I am supposed to revert to my furthest back matriname - I think it's pronounced "MickIlam" but I could be wrong.
From what I can gather the McIlquham surname is not all that common in Scotland and can for sure be traced back to the 1550's in the highlands, though not by me and my line :) Like all names it has a meaning - son of St. Thomas servant - darn back to patrinames !!!!!
References to the surname at ScotlandsPeople show
1841 - 20
1851 - 12
1861 - 11
1871 - 20
1881 - 22
1891 - 28
1901 - 31
1855-2006 records
births - 231
marriages - 72
deaths - 181
OPR records - 1538-1854
b&c - 217
b&m - 151
d&b - 27
wills & testaments - 13
Note the big discrepancy between b,m,d's and census. I bet the census takers had a big headache trying to spell that surname :)

Given that I have an aunt and female cousin here's their matrilineal line .
granddaughter - (still living)
daughter - (still living)
mother - (still living)
grandmother - Jessie Colville 1899-1984
g-grandmother - Julia Stewart 1865-1942
2nd g-grandmother - Ann Lyell 1837-1912
3rd g-grandmother - Julia Ogilvie 1801-1878
4th g-grandmother - Isabella Samson (dates unknown)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Taking care of family photographs

If you live anywhere near any kind of river, stream, pond etc. make sure your photographs are not stored in your basement.
I live in one of the towns that has been impacted by flooding over the past few days and a neighbor's friend found all her family photographs floating above the furniture in two bedrooms in her basement. I'm told it was quite a sight to behold :) She is currently trying to dry them all out.
So how do you save photographs that have been caught in a flood?
If you have negatives and they are safe just make more copies.